Life Lessons From The Sports Greats

In many ways, sports are a metaphor for life. In order to win at the highest levels, in order to experience the highest of highs, you need to give it 110% – as the cliche goes.

Gretzky_aug2001Sports, whether we’re talking about team sports or individual sports, are won at the highest levels with people who have great determination, ice in their veins under pressure, an incredible work ethic, and a will to persevere through adversity. In the same way, these are the ingredients required to “win” at life.

The other day I was reading a really great list of 100 inspirational sports quotes. It occurred to me that every single quote was applicable to life itself. In fact, you could take famous words from “life” winners – men like Einstein, Edison, Ben Franklin, Winston Churchill, and many more, switch their names with those of famous athletes, and the quotes would seem perfectly suited to a football game or a boxing match. Likewise, you could take quotes from famous athletes, attribute them to famous world leaders, inventors, scientific innovators, and business tycoons, and they would seem perfectly at home. Here are just some examples to show you what I mean:

“The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.” – Wayne Gretzky – The greatest hockey player of all time

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” – Dan Gable – The greatest American wrestler of all time

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley – One of the greatest NBA coaches of all time

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong – Greatest cyclist of all time

Compare these to some quotes from leaders in other aspects of life:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill – British Prime Minister during WW2

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway – Literary great

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike. – Ted Roosevelt – American President

If you’re a fan of sports, take those lessons you see repeated everyday in front of your TV, and apply them to your own life. Perseverance, courage, learning from failure and a will to win are key ingredients to success in both sports as well as life.

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